How Your Car’s AC Can Protect You from Pollution

Nobody enjoys their daily commute to and from work. For most, it involves way too many traffic jams and insanely long red lights. But there is another reason to dislike your drive to work that you might not know about. It is during this time that you experience most of your daily exposure to harmful pollutants that can contribute to heart disease and respiratory problems.

Despite the high concentrations of pollutants found on the road, there is something scientists have recently discovered that can help reduce your exposure. It turns out all you need to do is turn on your car’s air conditioner.

dunbarlawfirm.com

To reach this conclusion, scientists tested all the different combinations of air conditioner and fan settings inside vehicles while monitoring pollutants both inside and outside each car. They also tested levels in the car with the windows up and then down. In addition, they tested the pollution levels in various traffic conditions that are common for commuters, including being stuck behind a large diesel-powered vehicle, driving past construction work, stuck in highway traffic, and being stopped at a red light.

What the researchers found is that simply turning on the car’s air conditioner reduced pollutant levels inside the vehicle by up to 34%. This happens even though the air conditioner is pulling air from outside (where the pollutants come from). When the dirty air passes across the cold evaporator of the AC, the cold surface attracted the dirty particles in the air. Thus, they stuck to the evaporator surface instead of being pulled into the car, where a person could breathe them. This is why turning on the air conditioner is more effective at reducing in-car pollution that turning on the fan by itself, which runs the air through the same filter that the air conditioner uses.

AC systems also seemed to offer the most protection when following high-polluting vehicles like large trucks. When following such vehicles, air pollution outside the tested cars was three times higher than inside the car, as long as the air conditioner was on. The scientists also discovered that drivers could further minimize exposure by rolling down their windows once the truck or bus is no longer around. This allows any lingering buildup of pollutants in the car to dissipate. They also recommend rolling down windows for a period of time after exiting a congested freeway, an area that is another major source of pollutants.

If your car’s AC doesn’t work, though, don’t worry too much. The researchers also found that just keeping your windows closed when in heavy-pollution situations helped reduce in-car air pollution between 8 and 44%. Unfortunately, the scientists who conducted this study did not say what to do during the cold winter months, when running the air conditioner in your car is an impossibility.

Next Article
ADVERTISEMENT
  • One Lake In Tanzania Turns Animals Into Statues

    When you turn up on the shoreline of Lake Natron in Tanzania, you may be forgiven for believing to be in a nightmare. All along the shoreline you can find eerie corpses of animals, stiffened corpses all standing like statues. They have been calcified by the water, a group of bats or birds, meeting a...

    Read More
  • The Time Ecuador Voted In A Foot Powder As Mayor

    Over the history of time, there have been some very strange candidates representing political positions all over the world. From mad emperors to strange kings, from animals to insects there have been all sorts representing societies at different times. Though nothing compares to the 1967 mayoral campaign in Ecuador, where a foot powder received enough...

    Read More
  • Before 1935 Toilet Paper Had Splinters

    Yes, your nightmare, toilet paper with splinters, was actually a sold commodity before the 1930s. Imagine going to the toilet, only to have to face a dangerous roll of toilet paper that was planning to stab you the moment you let your guard down. Those splinters would have been extremely painful, that is for sure....

    Read More
  • Melanism Nature’s Incredible Opposite Of Albinism

    Most people have heard of Albinism which is the congenital disorder that is known by the complete or partial absence of any skin pigments. The pigments are often lacking in the skin, hair, and eyes. Normally this results in white hair and pink eyes when it comes to mammals. When it comes to animals it...

    Read More
  • Wolverine Horror Frog Breaks It Own Bones For A Claw

    The hairy frog or the horror frog as eloquently known is not only a strange looking creature in the animal kingdom. It also possesses a trait which as far as everyone knows is completely unique. When under aggression or needing to defend itself from a predator, the hairy frog will break its own toe to...

    Read More
  • So Many People Were Buried Alive A Safety Coffin Was Patented

    During the 17th and 18th century one of the great fears that played in the back of everyone’s mind was the possibility of being buried alive. With sicknesses and diseases often ravaging whole communities, sometimes mistakes were made. It could only take someone falling into a deep fever, with their breathing extremely lowered for them...

    Read More